How to Start a Truck-Driving Business

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A truck-driving business can serve locally or regionally as well as nationally. Companies or organizations can have short-term needs for delivering purchased goods or rental equipment. Goodwill Industries and the Salvation Army sometimes hire drivers for trips of 1,500 miles or more. They hire drivers, for example, to deliver donated items to certain parts of the country. There are trucking opportunities related to schools, churches and other entities in almost every community. Starting a truck-driving business should include trucks for hire. Hiring experienced drivers will make operating the business easier to manage from every aspect.

Visit local government offices to obtain a business license and list of requirements for operating a truck-driving business. Call state officials to ask about any federal or state requirements, especially if the business will operate across state lines. Gain a thorough understanding of laws in place that govern how both vehicles and drivers must be managed.

Investigate renting or buying a few trucks. Start with trucks of any size, but engage a few truck drivers who own their own 18-wheel rigs in case jobs become available for this kind of transport. Contract with these drivers for specific jobs the trucking business obtains. Avoid purchasing more expensive trucks outright until enough business can be established.

Rent warehouse or storage space for trucks that will be close to business activity. Consider renting just a bare plot of land as a parking lot for the trucks for a short period of time, if the budget is tight. Set up an office on the premises, so that clients can call for scheduling pickups or delivery of goods.

Hire a few local drivers who can work part-time. Develop a list of drivers who can drive for several days, if needed, as well. Ask for a background check and driving record, plus a resume, for each driver. Try to match drivers to the types of trips they enjoy, since many drivers will desire longer trips versus shorter hauls.

Continually pass out business cards to hotels, churches, charities and schools that specify what types of hauling the company can offer. List ideas for hauling, such as delivery of manufacturered items or moving household items to a new location. Keep hauling rates posted by the office telephone, so that an estimate can be given to callers. Work with exerienced drivers to define how to price trips in terms of cost-per-mile or cost-per-day rates.


  • Try to coordinate several trips per week in order to facilitate profits. Figure in the price of repairs and fuel for every trip. Average total expected repair costs over a year. Divide that cost by the number of trips to arrive at a dollar figure to add to a single invoice. The cost of one large repair or additional fuel costs for an extra day can erase profits for a single road trip.


  • Talk with an insurance agent about liability coverage for each driver. Make sure that all aspects of delivery are covered, so that no surprises will arise from any insurance claim. Compare rates at several agencies before deciding on a plan. Don't necessarily choose the cheapest plan, since reduced pricing in insurance premiums can mean reduced coverage in certain areas.



About the Author

Judi Light Hopson is a national columnist for McClatchy Newspapers. She is founder of Hopson Global Education and Training and co-author of the college textbook, Burnout to Balance: EMS Stress. She holds a degree in psychology from East Tennessee State University, and has been a professional writer for 25 years.

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